Vicksburg District

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Welcome to Caddo Lake

Caddo LakeCaddo Lake is a 25,400 acre lake and wetland located on the border between Texas and Louisiana. It is an internationally protected wetland under the RAMSAR treaty and is the largest natural fresh water lake in the South.  It has the largest Cypress forest in the world.  The current dam was constructed as a modification to provide for navigation, water supply, recreation, commercial fishing, preservation of existing land values and flood control.  Caddo Lake Dam was completed and began impounding water in June 1971.

The Recreation opportunities for visitors at Caddo Lake are numerous thanks to the many privately owned recreational businesses such as restaurants, site seeing tours, and marinas. Additionally several Louisiana parishes operate parks on the lake as well as the State of Texas. The Corps of Engineers operates a day use recreation area located just below Caddo Lake Dam near the outlet channel.


 Vicksburg District, US Army Corps of Engineers
1700 Bodcau Dam Road
Haughton, Louisiana  71037
(318) 949-1804
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Caddo Lake Location

Caddo Lake Info

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Operation for flood control is in accordance with the Reservoir Regulation Manual for the project.  Caddo Lake operation is coordinated with regulations of other lakes and flood control works in the Red River Basin, Arkansas and Louisiana Project. 

Caddo Lake Dam was originally authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 25 June 1910, as a feature of the navigation project Cypress Bayou and Waterway between Jefferson, Texas and Shreveport Louisiana.  The dam consists of 1,200 feet of earth embankment with a crest width of 30 feet and elevation of 176 feet NGVD: an uncontrolled, fixed concrete crest weir 2,400 feet  long with a split crest elevation.  The outlet works consists of an earth filled dike with an elevation of 170.5 feet NGVD and an ogee weir crest 100 feet long with a crest elevation of 160.5 feet NGVD.  There are no conduits or controls for passing flood flows and during intense storm discharges, the entire works are inundated for normal operations.  Extensive care is taken by the Corps of Engineers to ensure the integrity of the dam by conducting regular dam inspections and providing preventive maintenance when needed.

Caddo was first seen by Native Americans in the 8th century, and was named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddo or Caddoans, who lived in the area from the 16th century until their expulsion in the 19th century.  It used to be Texas’s only natural lake with a natural dam.   

According to Caddo legend, the lake was formed by the 1811 New Madrid Earthquake; however, most geologists feel that Caddo Lake was formed gradually rather than catastrophically by the “Great Raft” a 100 mile log jam on the Red River.   

Caddo Lake Dam construction began on August 7, 1968 and was completed on June 18, 1971.  The original purpose of the Dam included navigation, water supply, recreation, commercial fishing, preservation of existing land values, and flood control. 

The Army Corps of Engineers is the steward of the lands and waters at Corps water resources projects. Its Natural Resource Management Mission is to manage and conserve those natural resources, consistent with ecosystem management principles, while providing quality public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations.

In all aspects of natural and cultural resources management, the Corps promotes awareness of environmental values and adheres to sound environmental stewardship, protection, compliance and restoration practices. The Corps manages for long-term public access to, and use of, the natural
resources in cooperation with other Federal, State, and local agencies as well as the private sector.

The Corps integrates the management of diverse natural resource components such as fish, wildlife, forests, wetlands, grasslands, soil, air, and water with the provision of public recreation opportunities. The Corps conserves natural resources and provides public recreation opportunities that contribute to the quality of American life. To enhance the blue bird population in the area, Corps of Engineers Biologists and Park Rangers maintains blue bird boxes along the toe of the dam.  An annual survey is conducted to ensure that the blue bird populations are healthy and thriving.


Caddo Lake offers visitors unlimited boating opportunities thanks to the many private and publicly owned marinas and boat ramps found around the lake in Louisiana and Texas.

At the Caddo Lake Dam site, the waters of the lake flow over the control structure into Twelve Mile Bayou.  There are small  boat ramps along the Bayou that many boaters utilize for accessing hunting and fishing areas. 

Day Use

The Corps of Engineers operates one recreational facility at Caddo Lake Dam.  Fishing is available to the public year-round at the outlet channel and along the dam road.  A large parking area is available for visitors.  The Caddo Parish Department of Parks and Recreation operates a  picnic area that is located nearby at  Horace M. Downs Park.  It offers several shaded picnic sites with tables and grills.   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not charge any user fees at Caddo Lake Dam Recreation Area.  There are no designated swimming areas at this location.


Caddo Lake is a maze of marked and unmarked waterways, cuts, bayous, sloughs, ditches and canals meandering through the beauty of bald cypress trees draped in Spanish moss. The water's surface is abundant with colorful lily pads yielding yellow and white blooms.  Anglers can pursue a variety of fish species such as Crappie, Black Bass, White Bass, Yellow Bass, Stripers, Bream and several species of Catfish, not to mention Gar, Drum, Frogs, Turtles, Eels and Snakes!  One of the favorite fishing spots on the lake is at the Caddo Lake Dam site.  When the water is high, fishermen do well casting into the strong currents that flow from the control structure.  Others like to fish in the calmer lake waters located next to the dam.  Fishing is available to the public year-round.


Hunting is not permitted in this area; however, Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located about one mile south of the dam site where Twelve Mile Bayou crosses Highway 169.  Boaters utilize the bayou to access hunting areas on this WMA.


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